Coweta names finalists for teacher of the year


The Coweta County School System has named the 2014 teachers of the year for each of its 31 public schools. Chosen by their peers, the teachers will be honored at a ceremony on May 1. The May 1 meeting will also include the announcement of the school system’s 2014 Teacher of the Year.

School system spokesman Dean Jackson said all 31 individual teachers of the year will be honored at the May 1 Coweta County Teacher of the Year Program to be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts. The Coweta County Board of Education annually presents the program with the Newnan Pilot Club.

The 2014 Teachers of the Year from each school include:

From elementary schools: Lauren Scheu, 3rd grade (Arbor Springs); Carrie Dumm, 5th grade (Arnco-Sargent); Rebecca Lewis, 2nd grade (Atkinson); Ashley Wilkes, 5th grade (Brooks); Pam Barfield, 4th grade (Canongate); Jenny Walker, Kindergarten (Eastside); Shelene Long, 4th grade (Elm Street); Ellen Thomas, 4th grade (Glanton); Heather Reaves, 5th grade (Jefferson Parkway); Pam Smith, EIP Teacher (Moreland); Joyce McCain, Kindergarten (Newnan Crossing); Beth Willems, 3rd grade (Northside); Dwight McDaniel, 5th grade (Poplar Road); Ami Patel, 5th grade (Ruth Hill); JoAnne Underwood, Kindergarten (Thomas Crossroads); Sarah Leach, 1st grade (Welch); Samiha Alexander, 5th grade (Western); Kim Taylor, 2nd grade (White Oak); and Susan Kennedy, Special Education Teacher (Willis Road).

From middle schools: Rebecca Ryals, 6th grade Social Studies (Arnall); Craig Owens, 6th-8th grade (East Coweta); Amy Addison, 8th grade Language Arts and Literature (Evans); Misty Wilson, 7th grade Literature and Language Arts (Lee); Michelle Clarke, 8th grade Math (Madras); Matt Nash, 7th grade Special Education (Smokey Road); and Jennifer Bailey, 6th-8th grade Math (Maggie Brown).

From high schools: Jim Cromwell, Economics (the Central Educational Center); Chris Sewell, AP Biology (East Coweta); Jo Ellen Gordon, Math Teacher (Newnan); Amanda Connell, Economics (Northgate); and Wendy Arnold, Special Education (Winston Dowdell).

Jackson said Coweta’s teachers of the year are chosen each year from among certified classroom teachers in Coweta County schools, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, including special education, physical education, art, music, and media specialists. They are selected by their peers for the quality of their teaching, professional development, teaching philosophies and methods, community involvement, contributions to education and their ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.

The county’s 2014 Teacher of the Year, who will also serve as the Coweta County nominee for state Teacher of the Year, will be announced at the May 1 program.

The Coweta County School System is the only school system in Georgia with three county nominees chosen as Georgia Teacher of the Year, including Lorraine Johnson, Nancy Royal and Jamie Lipscomb. There have also been 13 Coweta County semi-finalists for Georgia teacher of the year since 1986.

Central Educational Center music teacher Dr. Lyn Schenbeck was named the Coweta County 2013 Teacher of the Year. Schenbeck is a 40-year educator and lifelong musician who holds B.S. and master’s degrees in music education from the State University of New York’s Crane School of Music, and a doctorate of musical arts in conducting from the University of Colorado-Boulder.  Coming from a background as a musician and as a college instructor, Schenbeck began teaching music and organizing strings classes in Coweta’s middle schools in 2006, and teaches music, music business and technology and music in medicine to grades 8-12 at the Central Educational Center. She founded, and continues to conduct, the all-ages Centre Strings community orchestra.

Schenbeck was chosen as Coweta 2013 TOTY from among teachers of the year, and from among three finalists, including Thomas Crossroads Elementary School special education teacher Donna Hightower and East Coweta High School 11th grade AP American literature teacher Randy Robbins.